Keeping in mind that these ruminations are purely speculative.
Sex selection is a big thing in evolution. Why does the peacock have a gaudy, useless tail? The only reason we can think of is that drab little peahens like the macho display. The tail says, “look at me! I’m (bird)man enough to survive and thrive while carrying all this useless junk around.” So generation after generation the drab little peahens flock around the guys with the biggest tail and cluck over his eggs, and so generation after generation the little male peachicks are the ones with the genes for the biggest tails. So every generation the pea race gets bigger tails, tempered only by the fact that, you know, a lot of the peacocks sporting big tails probably get eaten.
That’s the theory anyway. It’s the best explanation we can come up with for features that otherwise don’t make sense. (more…)
Some of our most cherished Mormon practices and traditions are valued nearly as much for their “unintended” results as for their stated objectives. A couple of examples: (more…)
It was Fast and Testimony Meeting in my ward today. I normally sit towards the back, where all the Class C medical devices I’m wrapped in are a bit less of a distraction for my fellow Saints.
… these are a savage and brutal people, given to all manner of atrocities. They eat each other, they starve each other, they kill each other. They have no art and only the most primitive of science, yet such is their violent nature that even with so little knowledge they are now energetically using it to exterminate each other, tribe against tribe.
— “The Moderator”
Robert A. Heinlein, Have Space Suit – Will Travel
I like the old, weird Mormonism. The quirky doctrines that float out there like driftwood, but that tie in profoundly to the gospel when rightly understood. Things like the three degrees of glory, immortal bodies having flesh but not blood, the devil’s dominion over the waters, the two atonements on the cross and at Gethsemane.
But the author of Mormonism is also the author of mere Christianity. There’s plenty of quirks there too. (more…)
In the grove in the evening, the lion heard a great racket from a father Robin and his brood and went to investigate.
“Friend Robin,” the lion said, “why do you make a fuss?”
“Look at this nest, O Lion. All my work on it is ruined.” The nest was a ring of thorns the robin had woven to keep the young away from the edge. But in the middle of the ring at the bottom of the nest there was little. The pine needles and other such stuff the robin put here had mostly fallen away.
“Do not fret, friend Robin,” the lion said. “As I walked here, I saw several empty nests. I will lead you to one. Then it will be as if your mistake never happened.”
“O Lion,” the robin replied, “what a piteous state would be mine if all my work for my brood were meaningless. I cannot bear that they go to another nest as if all my day’s work had never happened.”
“Then you will have your brood sleep in this nest?” the lion asked.
“No,” said the robin, “they would fall. It is not fair to them to suffer for my mistakes.”
“And you see no way for the nest to be repaired?” the lion asked.
“Oh no,” said the robin, “it was a bad idea from the start.”
Then the king of beasts took the ring of thorns and placed it on his own head. “Let your brood nest in my mane, walled in by you’ve the ring you made.”
Someone must bear the consequences.
I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.
While once trying to explain to a non-Mormon friend why missionaries had such a strict dress code, I talked about showing respect for others, about norms of economic equality between rich and poor missionaries, but none of it seemed to register. Finally I said, “Look, becoming a missionary is like joining the Army. They have a collective goal, and everything is focused on that goal, to the point where things that you might otherwise find bothersome really don’t matter. If you are so concerned about individuality that you resent having to wear a uniform, then you are probably out of place there.” That made sense to him.
That sparked a years-long reflection on my part about how many aspects of Christianity in general, and Mormonism in particular, make more sense if you remember the words of the hymn, “We are all enlisted ’til the conflict is o’er.” As I’ll explain in more detail below, points of doctrine or Church history that might be troubling and confusing become less so when one realizes that we are in a spiritual war.
The average of behaviour is higher among Mormons than among the large Christian denominations. I wonder whether this may be related to the fact that nearly all Mormon men are Priests? (more…)
On the sweetness of Mormon life.
It’s Saturday evening, and you need to do some ironing for Sunday and the week. Your wife, your lovely one, says, “do you remember when you ironed on one of our dates?” You don’t. She tells you. (more…)
It’s hard to know when to stop being holy. Some things we are supposed to be doing, there are no natural stopping points. Can you ever do enough missionary work, when more people are born every minute then you can talk to in 60 seconds? Can you ever baptize the dead enough, when they die faster than you can baptize? Don’t run faster than you have strength, the scripture says. But conscience always whispers that maybe we have just a little bit more strength than we will let ourselves know. (more…)